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Living Cities

Artists around the world have examined the modern city in a range of works

Visitors with Kada Attia's sculpture Untitled (Ghardaïa)2009
Photo:©Rikard Österlund

Living with Practical Realities

Stephen Willats, Living with Practical Realities  1978

Across three panels, Stephen Willats explores the realities of living in a 1970s British tower block. The work centres on Mrs Moran, an elderly woman who lived at Skeffington Court in Hayes, West London. Willats photographed and interviewed Mrs Moran over the course of six months. The text in the work is based on these interviews. In his composition, Willats highlights the physical, social, and economic constraints that Mrs Moran experienced. Each panel also features a question. These invite the viewer to participate directly in Mrs Moran’s lived experiences.

Gallery label, October 2020

© Stephen Willats

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, July 1972

Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, July 1972  1972, printed 2014

American Surfaces is a series of 312 colour landscape-format photographs depicting vernacular scenes that American photographer Stephen Shore captured while on a dedicated road trip across America in 1972–3. Informal portraits, photographs of city and suburban streets, and images of domestic objects, meals and street signage are all among the subject matter featured in these works, which can be displayed sequentially in smaller groups or as part of the series in its entirety.

© Stephen Shore, courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York

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Chicago, Illinois, July 1972

Stephen Shore, Chicago, Illinois, July 1972  1972, printed 2014

American Surfaces is a series of 312 colour landscape-format photographs depicting vernacular scenes that American photographer Stephen Shore captured while on a dedicated road trip across America in 1972–3. Informal portraits, photographs of city and suburban streets, and images of domestic objects, meals and street signage are all among the subject matter featured in these works, which can be displayed sequentially in smaller groups or as part of the series in its entirety.

© Stephen Shore, courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York

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Untitled (Ghardaïa)

Kader Attia, Untitled (Ghardaïa)  2009

On the table is a model, made entirely of couscous, of the ancient Algerian city of Ghardaïa. One of the photographs on the wall depicts the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, who visited Ghardaïa in 1931 and adapted elements of its buildings into his own designs. Another photograph shows Fernand Pouillon, one of Le Corbusier’s followers, who drew upon these ideas to design the social housing project in suburban Paris where Attia grew up, as the child of Algerian parents. The artist’s own history, and the wider post-colonial relationship between Algeria and France, are therefore expressed through this work.

Gallery label, October 2016

© Kader Attia

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Los Moscos

Mark Bradford, Los Moscos  2004

This large-scale collage includes materials found by the artist on the streets around his studio in Los Angeles, USA. Visually suggestive of aerial maps of sprawling, urban areas, the collage is constructed entirely from paper fragments which, the artist believes, ‘act as memory of things pasted and things past. You can peel away the layers of papers and it’s like reading the streets through the signs’. The work takes its title from a derogatory slang term for migrant day labourers in the San Francisco Bay Area, reflecting the artist’s long-standing interest in the sub-cultures of the inner city.

Gallery label, October 2016

© Mark Bradford

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Washington, District of Columbia, November 1972

Stephen Shore, Washington, District of Columbia, November 1972  1972, printed 2005

American Surfaces is a series of 312 colour landscape-format photographs depicting vernacular scenes that American photographer Stephen Shore captured while on a dedicated road trip across America in 1972–3. Informal portraits, photographs of city and suburban streets, and images of domestic objects, meals and street signage are all among the subject matter featured in these works, which can be displayed sequentially in smaller groups or as part of the series in its entirety.

© Stephen Shore, courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York

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Highlights

Living with Practical Realities
Stephen Willats Living with Practical Realities 1978
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, July 1972
Stephen Shore Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, July 1972 1972, printed 2014
Chicago, Illinois, July 1972
Stephen Shore Chicago, Illinois, July 1972 1972, printed 2014
Untitled (Ghardaïa)
Kader Attia Untitled (Ghardaïa) 2009

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